Malaysia Bulldozes Temples

April 21, 2007

Author: Sean Yoong

Source: Journal Gazette

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia – The cavernous pink Putra Mosque with its soaring minaret is one of the most commanding sights and popular tourist photo backdrops in the new city of Putrajaya.

A house of worship for thousands of Muslims in the 8-year-old administrative capital of Malaysia, it is a showcase of the nation’s dominant faith – Islam.

But the mosque also highlights the fact that Putrajaya doesn’t have a single church or temple – a fact that minority Buddhists, Hindus and Christians see as one example of the second-class treatment other faiths get in this Muslim-majority country

Religious minorities have long complained about obstacles in getting the government’s permission to build places of worship in Malaysia. But their frustrations have grown amid recent accusations by religious rights activists that authorities are destroying non-Muslim shrines, heating up racial bitterness that has simmered for decades beneath a veneer of multicultural harmony.